You Need to Stop Believing the Lies You’ve Been Told About These ‘Unhealthy’ Foods

For years, studies have shown that certain foods are the “avoid at all cost” ones we should never eat. But actually, there is a lot of misconception about what is healthy and what isn’t, and most of it has to do with moderation. Plus, some studies Americans heard about were disproven, yet we still sit here wondering why we can’t enjoy some scrambled eggs or the occasional spoonful of peanut butter.

Here are all the surprising benefits you probably didn’t know about some of your favorite ‘unhealthy’ foods.

Eggs are not bad for you

Fresh chicken and quail eggs on a wooden rustic background

Eggs and their yolk are health additions to most diets. | iStock.com/VladislavStarozhilov

People once thought egg yolks were terrible for your cholesterol — cue the egg white obsession. But more recent studies show that egg yolks have nothing to do with your blood cholesterol level, and the yolk is actually packed with nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, and iron. Eggs also contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete source of protein. So go ahead and enjoy that omelet you’ve been craving.

Next: This food group has been misrepresented for years. 

Dairy won’t make you fatigued

Dairy products

Dairy is good for you, in moderation. | iStock.com

Contrary to popular belief, dairy does not make you fatigued. The reason this myth has been so widespread is because people with a dairy sensitivity can experience a feeling of fatigue or a lack of energy when they consume dairy. For those people, dairy should be avoided. But if you don’t have a proven sensitivity to it, there is no need to eliminate it from your diet.

Next: Believe it or not, this won’t lead to heart disease. 

Studies show saturated fat won’t cause heart disease

Saturated fats

Fat and heart disease have no correlation. | JulijaDmitrijeva/Getty Images

In 2014, an international study was done that examined 72 academic studies and more than 600,000 participants across the globe. The goal was to determine the role saturated fat plays in heart disease. The results? There was no role. It’s true; evidence suggests that saturated fats and heart disease have no correlation. And good fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Next: These starchy vegetables have earned a bad rap for no reason. 

Potatoes have amazing health benefits

Organic Purple Potatoes

Potatoes aren’t the enemy. | ginew/iStock/Getty Images

For some reason, we’ve always been told to avoid starchy foods, such as potatoes. But recently, experts have been trying to reverse that unwritten rule. Potatoes are rich in potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B. Plus, the spuds are at least 70% water. French fries might not be the best way to eat potatoes, though. Try baking them in the oven, skin on, to properly receive all of their nutrients.

Next: This popular diet trend won’t help you lose weight. 

‘Gluten free’ won’t help you lose weight

gluten free breads

Don’t go gluten free unless you need to. | minoandriani/Getty Images

Unless you have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, such as celiac disease, you should not cut gluten out of your diet. Gluten-free foods often lack essential nutrients, such as fiber, zinc, and iron. Plus, they’re packed with additional salt and sugar to make up for the lack of flavor. If you don’t absolutely need to avoid gluten, then you won’t see any benefit to cutting it out of your diet.

Next: Don’t be fooled by foods labeled this way. 

‘Low fat’ is not always better

Believe it or not, full fat is the way to go. | Laura Laporta/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

Often, fat equates to flavor. If you cut out the fat in something, you usually need to supplement it with additional sugar and salt to make up for the flavor lost. But too much sodium in your diet can lead to heart disease, and too much sugar can lead to an unnecessary spike in blood sugar. Stick with the regular option, but make sure to only have one serving.

Next: This type of meat can actually be very beneficial. 

You don’t need to avoid red meat

Minced red meat on butcher paper with basil

Red meat has health benefits too. | iStock.com/Wiktory

There’s a difference between processed and unprocessed meat. Processed red meats contain chemical additives and preservatives (such as fast food meats) that can be harmful to your health. The World Health Organization actually has identified those types of red meat as carcinogenic. But unprocessed, grass-fed beef gives you all the nutritional benefits of red meat without the risk. B vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein are just a few of the nutrients you’ll get in a piece of red meat — minus the worry.

Next: Cheese lovers, rejoice. 

Cheese isn’t nearly as bad as you think

Gruyere cheese with holes

Cheese is a healthy addition to a balanced diet. | Olha_Afanasieva/iStock/Getty Images

People avoid cheese because they see its fat content and run. But one serving of real cheese (avoid Kraft singles or Cheez Wiz) can have some amazing health benefits. Cheese is packed with calcium for strong bones, plus it contains a substance called butyrate. Butyrate has been shown to boost the metabolism and aid in weight loss. One study also linked butyrate to a reduced risk of colon cancer. Cheese lovers, rejoice.

Next: A recent study about pasta might have you eating it much more often. 

Pasta won’t cause weight gain

Cooking pasta on the stove

Pasta should be enjoyed in moderation. | Vladimir Kokorin/iStock/Getty Images

A recent study showed that pasta was actually linked to weight loss rather than weight gain. The University of Toronto examined dozens of studies of pasta in relation to glycemic index. They found that pasta didn’t contribute to weight gain or higher body fat. In fact, those participating in the study actually lost weight. Mac and cheese never sounded better.

Next: There’s no need to avoid this fatty food — it’s good for you. 

Stop avoiding peanut butter

Jar of peanut butter with nuts. On wooden texture.

Why do people swear off of peanut butter?| sergoua/iStock/Getty Images

Yes, peanut butter is high in fat. But it’s high in monounsaturated fat — a good fat. It’s filled with fiber, protein, and magnesium, so it fills you up longer and gives your body essential nutrients. Slap a tablespoon on a slice of whole wheat bread, and you’ve got a beneficial afternoon snack.

Next: You don’t need to cut this out in order to be healthy. 

You don’t need to completely cut out alcohol

That drink may hit you harder than you think.

Alcohol can be enjoyed as long as you keep your intake moderate. | Bogdanhoda/Getty images

You can still enjoy alcohol and lose weight. A glass of red wine each night can help prevent heart disease, thanks to a substance known as resveratrol, which is found in red grapes. And although beer isn’t the best option, if you order a light beer, you can still enjoy the flavor without consuming too many empty calories. Drinking in moderation is important, but you don’t need to ditch the alcohol all together.

Next: These types of foods are also fine in moderation. 

Canned foods aren’t bad (if you choose the right ones)

cans of tuna at the Gonidec canning fish factory i

Some canned foods are still OK. | FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Canned foods should be eaten in limited quantities because metal cans do contain BPA, which can cause cancer in large quantities. But buying the occasional canned vegetables won’t hurt you; just don’t eat a can every single night. Opt for low-sodium canned foods, since canned foods sometimes have added sodium for preservation. But a low sodium option every once in a while is a less expensive way to still soak in many nutrients.

Next: Don’t be afraid to enjoy a cup of coffee. 

A cup of coffee each day can improve your overall health

Cup of coffee

Coffee has some great health benefits. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Studies have shown that coffee can help prevent type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. Plus, another study showed that higher caffeine intake resulted in a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. Drinking a cup of joe per day is the perfect way to get an energy boost along with some of caffeine’s best benefits.

Next: This tasty snack is almost no fat or calories. 

Popcorn is actually an awesome snack option

 popcorn

Who said popcorn was an unhealthy snack? | Kitzcorner/iStock/Getty Images

There are two types of popcorn: Buttered and not buttered. Buttered popcorn that you’d indulge in during a movie is not the good kind. But unsalted, unbuttered popcorn is a nutritious snack that packs a nice crunch with very little fat or calories. Plus, you can spice it up any way you’d like.

Next: This wise old saying is actually true. 

An apple a day truly does keep the doctor away

Red Delicious apples hang from the branches

Apples are a great snack to add to your day. | Jeff T. Green/Getty Images

Fruits are more than just a substitute for a sweet treat. They really do keep your body performing properly thanks to their abundance of vitamins and minerals. One thing to remember is that if you can eat the peel (such as with an apple), you should. The rind or peel often has a ton of nutrients that you could be missing out on by skipping it.

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